Access Linux and Mac files from Windows with DiskInternals Linux Reader

Linux enthusiast are you? Good for you. Mac user? Eh, it is your life. My guess is even as a Linux enthusiast and/or Mac user you are dual-booting with Windows because, frankly, it is extremely hard to ditch the operating system most of the world uses. One issue with dual-booting Linux/Mac with Windows are the different file systems: Windows uses NTFS whereas Linux uses Ext2/Ext3/Ext4 or ReiserFS and Mac uses HFS/HFS+. The difference in file systems makes it difficult to access files stored in Linux/Mac from Windows. DiskInternals Linux Reader aims to change that.

What Is DiskInternals Linux Reader?

DiskInternals Linux Reader is a program that reads partitions/disks formatted with Ext2/3/4, ReiserFS, HFS/HFS+, FAT, exFAT, and NTFS file systems. Since it is a program that runs in Windows, the main use of DiskInternals Linux Reader is to read Linux (Ext2/3/4 or ReiserFS) and Mac (HFS/HFS+) partitions/disks.

Read-Only Access

With Linux Reader you are given read-only access to files. You cannot write to any partitions/disks from Linux Reader, meaning you cannot edit files — you can only view them. If you want to modify files, Linux Reader allows you to make copies of files onto your local or networked Windows partition/disk.

How It Works

DiskInternals Linux Reader works similar to a regular file explorer. You run Linux Reader, double-click on the partition or disk you want to explore, and find the file(s) you want. Then you save (“recover”) the files to your local or networked Windows partition/disk. (You are allowed to save multiple files at a time.)

Linux Reader has a built-in file preview but it only supports specific file types (some image types, some video formats, office documents, text files, HTML files, and a few others which I was unable to test). If you are looking for files that happen to be supported by Linux Reader’s built-in file preview, you can preview the file(s) before saving them.

When you are done grabbing the files you want, simply close Linux Reader. Remember Linux Reader gives read-only access so you can save files from Linux/Mac partitions but you cannot save files to Linux/Mac partitions.

Advertisements In Program

Linux Reader is one of the freeware programs offered by DiskInternals Reacher, the developer. As such, Linux Reader has advertisements inside it for DiskInternals’ other software. Most all the software you see listed under the Tools menu are shareware programs offered by DiskInternals. When you click on any program under Tools you will be told the software is not installed and will be asked if you want to download it. If you decide to download it you will be taken to a download page on the developer’s website from where you can download whichever program you want.

You are more than welcome to download other programs offered by DiskInternals. Just realize most of them are not freeware.

Does It Contain Malware?

The developer of DiskInternals Linux Reader is DiskInternals Research. DiskInternals Research’s website is listed as clean by SiteAdvisor and WOT but some “malware watcher” websites list DiskInternals as a “distributor of malware”. I scanned DiskInternals Linux Reader with multiple anti-malware software. As far as I can tell, DiskInternals Linux Reader is clean. (If it wasn’t clean I wouldn’t be posting about it.) Still, proceed at your own risk — Ashraf and dotTech are not responsible for any gain or harm incurred by you.


The read-only access limitation is the major con with DiskInternals Linux Reader. However, even with such a limitation, DiskInternals Linux Reader is an extremely useful program for those that use operating systems other than Windows.

You can grab DiskInternals Linux Reader from the links below:

Version reviewed: v1.6

Supported OS: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/Server 2003/Vista

Windows 7 is not listed as being supported but it works just fine in Windows 7

Download size: 4.7 MB

Malware status: VirusTotal scan results (3/42)

DiskInternals Linux Reader homepage [direct download]

Thanks newJason for the tip that inspired this article.

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  • Aleks


    Linux is not always the answer. Just imagine you’re a IT Administrator in environment that support windows clients. You need to troubleshoot (reproduce) outlook 2007/2010 problem (let’s say outlook anywhere feature, or test autodiscover) how you going to do that ? How you going to apply a NFTS permissions to shares on your file server (without rdp-ing to your server ?!) if you need ones? SAMAB won’t help you with this!

    Linux is good as server…

  • Jyo

    Ooh, I like how its GUI is based on Windows explorer. I use another similar software that also gives you read access only to Linux partitions called “ext2explore.” It’s portable so I like to keep it in my arsenal.

  • Richard

    I personally use ext2 FSD ( for windows which allows me to have read and write access to my linux partitions when i need it.

    Works perfectly with Windows 7 and XP.



  • @Prema: That’s exactly how I reacted too.

  • The LinuxReader app sounds great! I’ve tried one app that reads EXT2 files but it wouldn’t work on my EXT4 files. Just one “problem” is that it only reads, it doesn’t write/erase. It’s just for Windoze(tm) users; Linux can read & write NTFS just fine.

    “Any time you write the word ‘Linux’ in your messages, I wake up from my slumber.”
    I say nothing but point to .

    My work PC is totally Linux, and I work easily with the Windows(tm) machines around me, sharing Powerpoint(tm) and Word ™ files and using the terminal server to remotely use an XP machine which has Visio(tm) that accesses some critical files. I share my files and Firefox bookmarks between work and our home machines (wife still Windows7(tm)) using Dropbox and XMarks.

    Next time my wife gets a virus, I’m going to switch her to Linux! If I change the menu button to a Windows start button logo, and keep the same desktop background, she might not notice except for the cleaner menu.

  • Dan

    Thanks for passing this on, Ashraf.

    For what it’s worth, I had this one scanned and it does seem to show up as having “PUA.Packed.EXECryptor”, which seems to come up on a Google search as being some sort of Trojan..not sure how spot on this is, but caution might be in order per you comments.

    Thanks again anyhow..

  • “Linux enthusiast are you? Good for you. Mac user? Eh, it is your life.”
    bahahaha you made my day ashraf
    [well technically it’s night right now, but ‘you made my night’ just sounds creepy :P]

    You’re THE BEST!

  • Ashraf

    @Daniel: As it turns out, Linux has a huge market share when it comes to servers so I wouldn’t be surprised if people in server administration use Linux on their personal PCs.

  • Daniel


    That is very true, Most places where I go will run windows, but I also work in the odd place where we use linux servers, mainly web servers serving php pages with litespeed installed.

    Would I use linux on the desktop, no I wouldn’t as I don’t feel the need to.

  • Ashraf

    @Joe_B_Wan: LMAO at “Any time you write the word ‘Linux’ in your messages, I wake up from my slumber.”

    When I was writing this article I was 100% sure someone would make a comment such as yours, hehe. I didn’t say it is impossible to only use Linux (or Mac). It is possible. It is just hard. For some people it is easier than others. For example, if your workplace (or school/university) uses Linux or Mac, it is easier to use Linux or Mac at home. On the other hand, for someone who’s workplace (or school/university) uses Windows it is hard to use Linux or Mac at home. Of course even for the latter person it is possible to use Linux or Mac when their work/school/university uses Windows; but that requires a lot of setting up and a lot of Wine (and not the kind you get drunk on).

    Don’t get me wrong — I love Linux. I think it is great. There was once a time where I installed over a dozen Linux distros within a week. I just feel it isn’t practical for *most* people.

  • Joe_B_Wan

    Hey Ashraf,

    Any time you write the word ‘Linux’ in your messages,
    I wake up from my slumber.

    You wrote “My guess is even as a Linux enthusiast and/or Mac user you are dual-booting with Windows because, frankly, it is extremely hard to ditch the operating system most of the world uses.”

    It used to be that way, but not any more, my friend! In May of 2012, I’ll be a Linux-Mint-user-only for two years. Woooo! Hooo! The only time I fired up the ‘w’ box was for updates (about 4 times ;)


    The Force beckons you, Ashraf.